February 13, 2017
Outdoor clothing retailer voice-enables warehouse operations to achieve exceptional productivity gains
Benefits at a glance:
- 20% improvement in accuracy
- Tripled productivity
- Real-time operational visibility
- Reduced training time
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Fewer returns through error
- Seamless WMS integration
Trespass is one of the most successful outdoor clothing retailers. Today the company has more than 200 stores, with operations in 62 countries and a thriving e-commerce website.
The company’s 160,000 sq ft warehouse in Glasgow and 45,000 sq ft contract warehouse in Wigan, serve customers worldwide. The operation runs six days a week, 24 hours a day with 60 warehouse associates as well as temp staff during peak.
Historically, Trespass used a paper-based picking system, which was slow, cumbersome and prone to error.
Ian King, CFO at Trespass, said: “We realised that the company was experiencing tremendous growth and needed to update our systems. We required a solution that would be quick and easy for our staff to learn, could bolt on to our IT infrastructure and be flexible enough to cope with seasonal peaks and high order volumes – Voiteq’s voice technology was the answer.”
The Trespass Challenge:
Carrying over 100,000 SKUs and 27,000 bin locations, Trespass has to handle on-going SKU churn due to trends and seasonality as well as mixed sizes and categories of sportswear clothing for men, women and children.
Orders can vary from 500 to 1,000 a day, presenting staffing and fulfilment issues, as well as the need for analytical reporting and tight supervisory control over picking, accuracy and delivery schedules; especially with increased customer expectation on short delivery windows for online orders.
Handling all of the omni-channel returns put additional pressure on operations so it was vital that initial order picking was accurate.
King commented: “Our business is complex, competitive and price sensitive. The operation needs to run like a well-oiled machine to meet SLAs, customer expectation and minimise costs so we can do the same at retail level. The new solution had to meet our needs of today and well into the future.”
Solution & Results:
“Voiteq had the expertise and ideal solution for our business – voice,” remarked King. “Using their VoiceMan Warehouse Execution System, we were able to integrate voice with our existing warehouse management system (WMS). It was important for us to maintain the knowledge and investment we had already made in our infrastructure.”
By pulling data from the WMS and translating it into spoken commands for an associate, they are able to carry out tasks hands and eyes-free. Once the task is carried out, a spoken command confirming its completion is fed back to the system and converted back into data for the WMS to process.
The simplicity of the system and short training requirement enabled Trespass to on-board new and temp staff quickly. In addition, the reporting tools provide supervisors with the visibility and control they need.
Voiteq went one step further adding additional functionality to the voice-picking process; making it possible for an associate to pick multiple orders in one go and, pick-and-pack as they go. Previously an associate would be given one order sheet to complete before returning to the control desk to obtain their next task; for online orders the associate would also have to transfer the product to the packing zone, adding more steps to the process – with voice this has been eliminated.
“Our KPIs for voice were high, we weren’t disappointed. In our first two years we tripled our productivity and saw a 20 per cent improvement in accuracy,” said King.
The combination of improved accuracy and throughput has meant that there are fewer returns due to error and missed delivery times – which has helped alleviate the pressure of reverse logistics.
Furthermore, training time has also been cut in half. Temporary staff can be picking as quickly and accurately as permanent staff in just a day, which is critical around seasonal peaks.
The VoiceMan reports and real-time operational visibility now enables supervisors to manage and redeploy staff without wasting time searching the entire warehouse, retrain where necessary, and predict resource requirements for future peaks based on historical data.
“Voiteq voice has made huge improvements to our operations. The combined benefits meant that we saw a return on investment in as little as six months. Voiteq voice is future-proofing our business and giving us the kind of competitive edge we were looking for.” Said Ian King, CFO, Trespass